Can You Put a Price Tag on CPR Education?

How I got involved with CPR

“I carry my CPR resuscitation mask everywhere I go”

Today while taking the train back from work I noticed an innocent act of “bragging” that sent me back 13 years — when I, for the first time in my life, really understood how fragile life is and how CPR can save a life.

Next to me on the train was a college prep student. He was bragging to his friend about carrying his CPR resuscitation mask everywhere he goes. The reason for that, as he shared with his friends was “My teachers are old, I will need to use it on them probably very soon”.

My heart was filling with pride and not because of his bad joke.I did not mind what story he tells his friends — what mattered was that he is trained in CPR, he has a CPR resuscitation mask, and that he made it sounds cool with his friends. Hopefully, they will follow in his footsteps.

Going back to 2003 — when I became a mom for the first time, and got the greatest gift of all — my son. As he was a week old, I took what will soon be the most important class I ever take in my life — a CPR class.

Let me share with you why.

My story continues a year later, on a one winter afternoon; I was at a friend’s house in the quiet suburbs enjoying dinner together with the family. Their, then, one-year-old son was sitting with us in his high chair, enjoying his suitably small, seedless pieces of watermelon.

Suddenly the child started coughing. The parents tried to help but with no success. Everyone sat there, feeling helpless, looking on in rising panic as the boy started to struggle to breathe.

At this point, using the knowledge acquired just month earlier at a CPR class at my pediatrician’s office, I decided to act: I took the child out of his chair and performed the baby version of the Heimlich maneuver. The watermelon came out.

Or so it seemed?

We all went back to our dinner but the boy kept on crying, distressed. His mother, with a mother’s intuition, said ‘Something is wrong’. She took him out of his chair again, and within seconds, the boy stopped breathing, lost consciousness, and started turning blue. His parents, screaming ‘my baby is dying’, panicked — as did everybody else.

In Case of Emergency Don’t Hesitate and Call 911

Someone called 911, but it took them precious minutes to get there. If no-one did anything, the child might choke to death before anyone came.

I don’t know quite how I kept my cool but I did, and told the father, who at the time was holding his son, to put him on the floor and I started CPR. After a few seconds, that for us lasted like forever, the child started breathing on his own. By the time the police and the paramedics came, he was ‘back’.

It turns out that a small piece of watermelon was blocking his trachea, and that there was no open airway. By giving him CPR, I actually pushed the watermelon further down, which opened one side for the air to enter one of his lungs and he was able to breathe on his own using one lung. Yes, I saved his life.

The child is now fine. He was taken to the hospital and there was no permanent damage to his lungs. But a few more minutes and this story would have been another tragedy.

Every time I share this story I feel as I am back at the scene. I am glad this story had a happy ending, and I know it was thanks to the CPR training.

CPR Training is Priceless

I’m no hero, all I did was take a CPR class and stay calm enough to apply what I have learned. If you take care of children and\or you know of someone who does, please take a CPR class and get them to take one too.

A CPR class only takes a couple of hours and can save lives!

Me at a CPR class working the AED
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